Nutrition from the Inside Out: What to eat for great skin
Not only is nutrition important for a healthy heart, muscle growth and brain power, but what you eat can have a direct effect on how your skin looks. Remember, the skin is the body's largest organ. What you put in your mouth plays a huge role on how healthy you are from the inside out.
Foods to add to the diet:
Almonds- Vitamin E - acts as an antioxidant and potential sun blocker that helps prevent skin cells from UV light
Carrots- Vitamin A - good for clearing up breakouts and helps prevent the over-production of cells in the sun's outer layer. Vitamin A also reduces the development of skin cancer cells
Dark Chocolate, blackberries, blueberries, cherries and raspberries - flavonols - acts as an antioxidant that reduces the roughness in the skin and protect against sun damage. Gives skin better texture and stronger resistance to UV rays.
Flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, salmon, walnuts - omega 3 fatty acids. Helps to prevent irritation and redness and have better hydrated skin. Fights inflammation, protects against sunburn and can enhance the effects of your SPF sunscreen.
Green tea - catechines- act as antioxidant with anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Could help to prevent skin cancer.
Spinach, sweet potatoes, oranges,- Vitamin A (beta carotene) - may decrease the incidence of skin caner and the folate (in spinach) helps to repair and maintain DNA while bolstering cells' ability to renew themselves and reduce the likelihood of cancer .
Sweet potatoes, bell peppers, oranges, lemons and limes - vitamin C - smoothes out wrinkles and essential to collagen production. Vitamin C helps keeps collagen strong and resilient.
Tomatoes - Lycopene- only found in cooked tomatoes, helps to eliminate skin-aging free radicals caused by UV rays.
Tuna in a can - selenium - preserve elastin, a protein that keeps skin smooth and tight. Also acts as an antioxidant that is believed to protect against the sun.
Foods to avoid:
Salty Snacks - too much sodium sucks the moisture out of skin cells and causes it to pool outside of the cell walls, resulting in bloating, puffy eyelids, and bags under the eyes.
Alcohol - dehydrates the skin and acts as a vasodilator
Fried foods - the heated vegetable oils used to fry most food can release a compound that can cause skin cells to die.
Refined carbohydrates - Processed sugar and white flour do not support healthy skin because there are little to no nutrients in these foods. Remember, your skin is you're the largest organ in the body-you must eat foods that fuel your body for success.
Here are 5 foods/recipes that incorporate skin healthy foods. One can make simple changes and make a big difference.
· Dark chocolate covered almonds
"Who doesn't love this? Both almonds and dark chocolate are great for the skin and a yummy treat. Because of the fat content and the rich taste of dark chocolate you only need 4-6 to satisfy a sweet tooth. Enjoy!"
· Spinach and blood orange salad
"Make a salad that makes your skin glow! Add fresh spinach, blood oranges, slivered almonds, reduced fat feta cheese with flax oil vinaigrette and you have a meal that is jam packed with ingredients to support healthy skin!"
· Salmon, carrot, bell peppers, & spinach stir fry.
"A stir fry is a great, easy way to make a nutritious dinner. Throw vegetables into a wok or sauté pan, while broiling the salmon. Add spices of choice with olive or canola oil and you are set. Choose salmon over chicken to get some extra omega 3 oils and choose carrots, bell peppers and spinach to give your skin some extra love."
· Flaxseed oil vinaigrette - lemon juice, olive oil, flax oil, Dijon mustard & balsamic vinegar
"Easy twist on a simple recipe to add some extra omega 3 oils. Take 2 parts vinegar, 1 part olive oil and add 1 TB of flax oil. Add mustard and/or lemon juice to taste. Makes your salad have an extra punch."
· Flaxseed peanut butter (from Trader Joe's) with whole grain crackers
"Trader Joe's has added this to their mix and what a find it is! Spread onto some whole grain crackers or bread and you have a healthy skin snack."
As Western Athletic Club's Regional Registered Dietitian for San Francisco and Marin, Jae Berman, MS, RD motivates and empowers clients to achieve break-throughs in personal health, fitness, wellness and life-balance-on their own terms. Her goal is to create programs that allow her clients to have a positive relationship with food, and therefore a positive relationship with their bodies. Jae is also a certified personal trainer and yoga instructor, and carefully integrates her understanding of these disciplines into customized fitness programs for clients. Her specialties include nutrition for weight loss, wellness, sports nutrition, cardiovascular nutrition, digestive disorders, eating disorders and blood glucose control.
Jae holds a master's degree in Applied Physiology and Nutrition at Columbia University, and completed her dietetic internship at UCSF Medical Center. She is credentialed through the American Dietetic Association and is an ACSM Health Fitness Specialist.